Winter is coming
- East coast lamb throughout numbers are nearly 6% under trend, for this week in the season, with 162,380 head reported.
- From their mid-April peak, lamb yarding levels in Victoria are off by 40% but they remain 14% above the five-year average pattern for this week in the year.
- In contrast, NSW lamb throughput is nearly 13% under the average pattern for this week in the season.
- Meanwhile weekly SA lamb yarding levels are 38% under the five-year average seasonal pattern.
Weekly east coast lamb throughput numbers have retreated back below the seasonal average pattern for the first time since mid-April, for the week ending 21st May. A look back at the previous five weeks shows east coast lamb sale yard volumes have been running 30% ahead of the five-year average pattern.
However, as of the current week lamb throughout numbers are now running nearly 6% under trend, for this week in the season, with 162,380 head reported. Although compared to this time last year east coast lamb numbers are sitting 48% higher.
A steady decline in Victorian lamb throughput levels in recent weeks has been a key factor weighing on the broader east coast figures. Indeed, from the mid-April peak in Victorian lamb yarding levels at 100,059 head current lamb throughput in Victoria are off by 40%.
For the week ending on 21st May Victorian lamb throughput eased 15% from the week prior to see 59,618 head of lamb presented. Despite the easing Victorian lamb numbers at the sale yard current yarding levels are still 14% above the five-year average pattern for this week in the year.
Weekly Victorian lamb throughput levels above 50,000 head may not last long though, as the average seasonal pattern for Victoria demonstrates, with winter often registering weekly throughput levels between 20,000 to 30,000 head.
The Victorian lamb yarding pattern tends to have far more pronounced swings in throughput volumes between winter to spring, particularly when compared to the NSW seasonal trend. The NSW lamb throughput seasonal cycle doesn’t display the winter lull and sharp increase in lamb numbers seen in Victoria when the spring flush is in full swing during October/November.
While NSW lamb throughput can often add an extra 40,000 or so head of lamb to the weekly saleyard volumes through October to November it is generally dwarfed by the 100,o00 odd head of lamb that hits Victorian yards. For the week ending 21st May we did see 14% lower NSW lamb yardings from the week prior to record 92,921 head of lamb presented at NSW yards, a figure nearly 13% under the average pattern for this week in the season.
The seasonal South Australian lamb throughput pattern tends to mirror the Victorian trend, with easing volumes into winter and a noticeable surge in volumes during spring. Recent weeks have seen some uncharacteristic volatility in week to week lamb yarding levels in SA with volumes see-sawing between 5,000 t0 20,000 head each week.
However in the last two weeks SA lamb yarding levels have settled under 10,000 head per week, mirroring the volumes seen this time last year. For the week ending 21st May, SA lamb yarding levels were reported at 7,579 head. This represents saleyard lamb volumes that are 38% under the five-year average seasonal pattern for this week in the year and are levels usually reserved for the depth of winter.